When we complete your care and support plan, the things we agree to help you with are worked out as a weekly amount of money. This is called your personal budget. There are several ways you can choose to manage your personal budget:
- You can receive it as a payment into a bank account (set up especially for the purpose) so you can arrange and pay for your own care and support. This is called a Direct Payment, – or
- You can have a Direct Payment and ask someone you trust to manage it for you (they must be willing to do this) – or
- You can ask our independent advisory service to manage your Direct Payment for you – or
- You can ask us to manage it for you – this is called a Local Authority Managed budget (there will be less choice with this option) – or
- You can choose a mixture of any of these
How your personal budget is calculated
When we talk with you about what you want to achieve and how you plan to achieve them, we will first look at your immediate network, for example, family and friends, then at what community resources could help you, for example voluntary groups. After that, if there are still eligible outcomes that cannot be achieved in any other way we may agree to help you pay for them. We initially set a budget that is based on our experience of how much it has cost people with similar needs. This helps us to work with you on your individual care and support plan.
Using this figure, together we will write your detailed care and support plan, which will determine more accurately the costs based on your individual circumstances. This may be more or less than the initial amount.
We will also talk with you about your finances to work out what you should contribute towards your budget. The final combined figure is your personal budget.
Policy and The Care Act
We do not have a rigid policy as to what the maximum level of funding will be, but we operate a decision-making process that considers all requests for a personal budget. This checks that all possible options have been explored to meet a person’s eligible needs based on their own facts and that the Council is obtaining best value. It uses the following guidance from the Care Act 2014:
‘In determining how to meet needs, the local authority may also take into reasonable consideration its own finances and budgetary position and must comply with its related public duties. This includes the importance of ensuring that the funding available to the local authority is sufficient to meet the needs of the entire local population.’
‘However, the local authority should not set arbitrary upper limits on cost it is willing to pay to meet needs through certain routes.
‘The authority may take decisions on a case-by-case basis which weigh up the total costs of different potential options for meeting needs and include the cost as a relevant factor in deciding between alternative options for meeting needs. This does not mean choosing the cheapest option; but the one which delivers the outcomes desired for the best value’.
Most people have occasions when they do not use the full amount, for example, when they are away for a few days, or have family staying who can do these tasks instead. We will agree with you what to do with any unused budget.
If you have been assessed to have short breaks, the costs of these are different to your normal weekly cost and these will be worked out and shown separately.
We will send you your personal budget statement which will show:
- Your personal budget
- Your contribution towards your personal budget and how we worked this out
- Our contribution and how we worked this out